Lehigh University graduate Stacey Cunningham will become the first woman to lead the New York Stock Exchange in its 226-year history.
Cunningham, who started as a floor clerk on the NYSE trading floor, is the chief operating officer overseeing equities, equities derivatives and exchange-traded products businesses.
She will become the NYSE’s 67th president on Friday.
Cunningham earned a bachelor’s degree in industrial systems and engineering from Lehigh in 1996.
“It’s exciting to take on the role of running this organization,” Cunningham said in an Associated Press article.
“As a woman, I think it’s important to set new boundaries for everyone so that those who follow can continue to have more opportunity than existed before.”
Cunningham was a summer intern at NYSE in 1994. After graduation, she joined NYSE as a specialist for Bank of America Securities. She also has worked at NASDAQ, which is now headed by a woman CEO, Adena Friedman.
Cunningham credits her engineering education at Lehigh for her ability to think through complex problems, according to an interview in Lehigh’s Alumni Bulletin.
She supervised the introduction of NYSE Pillar, a new trading platform that allows customers to interact with the stock exchange using the same technology and a single application programming interface.
“When I look at my evolution, I had three defining stints – the engineering education, the trading floor and the years focused on sales and client relationships,” she told Lehigh.